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Question and Answers for the State National Harmonization P rogram for Seed Potatoes (SNHP) 1- What is the origin and purpose of the SNHP? The SNHP concept developed over a series of meetings beginning at a 2002 "Potato Summit" composed of growers, government officials and industry representatives. The concept was developed in response to growing potato producer interest in developing expanded international market opportunities. An ongoing barrier to some of these international market opportunities has been the US seed potato system which lacks central control over pest management and seed certification making U.S. phytosanitary standards difficult to defend. The SNHP seeks to facilitate U.S. international negotiations on market access for potatoes by : 1- developing a minimum set of pest management and certification standards and 2- establishing a state commitment to those standards and establishing federal oversight over the implementation of the SNHP. 2- How many seed potato producing states are there and how are they different? In general, there are 15 recognized seed potato states. They are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska/Wyoming jointly, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. The seed potato certifying agency varies from state to state, it may be the State Dept. of Agriculture, State Seed Department, a land- grant University, a crop improvement association, or an independent growers association. Despite the many differences in certifying agencies or statutory authorities involved, the seed potato certification procedures are generally very similar and comparable despite some differences in some of the details or specifics. The SNHP, attempts to capture and harmonize those similarities into a uniform and organized framework that recognizes existing and well established state certification procedures. 3- What are the key provisions of the SNHP? The SNHP is an agreement between the State Agency and USDA APHIS PPQ to establish minimum standards of seed potato certification set by state authority and to develop a framework for pest management cooperation. The SNHP outlines the uniform requirements for state seed potato certification systems including tissue culture, limited generation systems, field inspections, post harvest testing, state inspections, etc.. 4- What are the key state responsibilities? States which sign the SNHP are expected to ensure conformance with SNHP standards, including record keeping requirements, preparation and submission of a quality manual containing state rules and regulations, description of seed certification procedures, tolerances and methods, and implementing the pest management plans specified in the annex. 5- What are the imple mentation timelines? November 1, 2006 is the implementation target date if a critical mass of participating states is reached as defined by 1- states representing at least 70% of seed potato acreage or 2- at least 70% of states with certified seed potato production are prepared to sign the SNHP. February 1, 2007 the quality manuals are due to be delivered to APHIS for states that met the November 1 deadline. 6- What does my state do if I need to implement legislative or rule changes to come into full compliance with the SNHP? A process has been developed to allow for up to a 3 year derogation to enable states to make the needed statute or rule change. States requesting a derogation should amend the SNHP by adding an Article #14. This article should explain the need for the derogation and the expected time frame. (up to 3 years). 7- If my state signs the SNHP, will our growe rs be able to purchase seed potatoes from Canada or other inte rnational supplie rs? Yes, so long as that country meets the requirements of article 4 of the SNHP. It will be the responsibility of USDA APHIS to inform states if that provision has been met by that particular country. 8- As part of the SNHP the state agrees to require that growe rs who purchase seed from outside the state provide or maintain adequate records verifying that such seed meets the requirements of Article 4. What level of "proof" is needed for this provision? A level of checking or verification by the state is expected. The state quality manual should describe the process that the state utilizes to meet this provision. 9- How can states be sure that by signing the SNHP that USDA APHIS PPQ will not gradually begin to scrutinize and mandate changes to existing state programs? The SNHP was developed as a cooperative effort between industry, state agencies, state seed certification officials and USDA APHIS. The intent from its initiation was to simply utilize existing state programs and structures without mandating changes from a Federal agency. To help ensure that this initial intent is maintained, a quality manual review committee composed of 2 state officials, 2 seed certification officials and 2 USDA officials has been developed to maintain a proper balance and perspective between the officials and agencies involved. 10 - Will there be a list of SNHP states maintained and readily available such that other states can ensure that they are buying from states that meet Article 4 require ments? Yes, it is anticipated that the National Plant Board, the National Potato Council and USDA APHIS PPQ will maintain and post the SNHP states on their respective web sites. 11- Do states that only produce commercial potatoes need to sign the SNHP? The primary purpose and origin of the SNHP was to enhance international export opportunities. Even though the provisions of the SNHP focus on seed producers, commercial production states would benefit by signing as that would assure potential international buyers that the potatoes produced in that state meet the certification requirements of article 4. 12- Would a comme rcial potato state need to pre pare and submit a quality manage ment manual? No 13- Interstate shipme nts and exports departing from the cooperating state must be inspected by state designated officials at the shipping point to verify lot identity and compliance. What does this mean? Each state is expected to provide an adequate level of inspection and verification of lot identity and compliance at the interstate or export shipping point. The appropriate official who provides this service is a state designated decision. 14- How should states submit the SNHP and the Quality manual? Using the SNHP template provided, customize the MOU for your individual state. Two originals should be signed by the appropriate state authority. Both signed original copies should be submitted to the appropriate USDA APHIS PPQ regional Director. Send the 2 signed original SNHPs to: Eastern Region: Western Region: Lynda Schepers Cindy Gordon 920 Main Campus Dr. 2150 Centre Ave, Bldg. B Raleigh, NC 27606 Fort Collins, CO 80526 Phone 919-855-7329 Phone 970-494-7543 The Quality manual should be submitted to: Michael D. Ward Accreditation Manager USDA;APHIS 4700 River Rd., Unit 140 Riverdale, MD 20137 06-15-2010
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